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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tips to Eating Well for a Longer Life

  Are there foods you can eat or not eat that can help you live longer and age well?   Environmental Nutrition has an interesting article in their November issue, 5 Tips for Eating to Age Well.   Their 5 key strategies?   
            1.        Eat foods rich in EPA and DHA omega-3’s.   Many commercials on TV advertise supplements to get your EPA and DHA but eating foods rich in these is preferred.
  • EPA and DHA foods - .  Fish oils are rich in EPA and DHA so focus on fish – wild-caught salmon, sardines, and herring.  
  •  How Do EPA and DHA help you age well?  They support heart health, your brain function and memory.  Even muscle strength has been shown to improve.     
       2.    Healthy gut – yes, exercise is a way to improve your midsection but eating well can improve the intestinal flora in your gut.  As you get older, the bacteria in your intestines change and not for the better.  You have less diverse bacteria and more harmful species.  
  • Feed your gut with yogurt, a good way to get the healthy probiotic bacteria. Then feed this probiotic bacteria in your gut with fruits and vegetables which provide a lot of fiber. 
  • Why?  Healthy bacteria in your gut can strengthen your immune system and decrease the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. 
           3.   Feed Your Bones - Most people know your bones need calcium to stay healthy.  But building strong bones takes more than calcium such as vitamins D and K and minerals like magnesium and strontium. 
  • Foods – for calcium focus on foods that provide both calcium and vitamin D like milk or yogurt.  Who would think that whole grains would help your bones?  Whole grains are rich in magnesium and healthy bones need magnesium.  Dark greens are a great way to get vitamin K.
  • A study in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found those given a supplement of D, K, magnesium and sulfate for one year with calcium from foods had more bone density in their hips and spines. 
         4.   Skip the soda for a healthier, longer life.
  • Focus on water – replace those sugary sodas with plain water.  Filter the water if you wish, add some lemon.
  • Why?  All that added sugar in soda (usually high fructose corn syrup) causes inflammation and damage that may adversely affect your DNA.  The shorter the telomeres in your DNA, the faster you age.  And sugared sodas increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers.  A Dutch study found those who drank 20 ounces of sugared soda a day, sped up their aging process by 4.6 years. 
        5.  Focus on Protein As you age, you lose some of your muscle mass along with strength and mobility.
  • Add protein to every meal, including breakfast.  To your breakfast, add some yogurt, make your oatmeal with milk instead of water, eggs, smoothies, even low-fat cottage cheese.  Aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal.
  • Why?  Focusing on protein at every meal may help your body synthesize muscle protein, especially if you add in exercise.
 Simple changes in your diet can lead to a longer, healthier life. 

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